The Extrusion Process
For those not familiar with extruded plastic netting, it’s perhaps best to begin by discussing what extruded plastic netting is not. It is not woven mesh. It is not perforated. It is not molded. Although all of these processes produce materials with holes, each process has its own nomenclature for defining what’s there (i.e. strands, joints, etc.) and what’s not there (holes). The same is true for the extrusion process.
The extrusion process is a continuous process, which involves melting plastic pellets and pushing them through a die in “meat-grinder” fashion to create a plastic net. Two important elements of the process are that it is continuous, and the product is produced in its final form as a net. (It always seems to surprise people that the product is extruded as a net.)
As the netting exits the die, which forms the strands, the material is drawn over a forming mandrel and into water to cool the material. As the material is drawn over the mandrel, it is stretched slightly. Although the extrusion process is very stable, when compared to other processes there is typically more variation in such product attributes as strand diameter and material thickness than with the weaving process or injection-molded process.
Plastic netting is a unique process that belies classification. If it is not woven, perforated or molded, than it really falls in the category of non-woven, even though it doesn’t have the drape characteristics typically associated with non-wovens.